28 Therefore they said to Him, “What shall we do, so that we may work the works of God?”29 Jesus answered and said to them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He has sent.” 30 So they said to Him, “What then do You do for a sign, so that we may see, and believe You? What work do You perform? 31 Our fathers ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written, ‘HE GAVE THEM BREAD OUT OF HEAVEN TO EAT.’” 32 Jesus then said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, it is not Moses who has given you the bread out of heaven, but it is My Father who gives you the true bread out of heaven. 33 For the bread of God is that which comes down out of heaven, and gives life to the world.”
Verses 28 and 29 sum up the attitude of the majority of the religious community these days. I’m not just talking about Christians, I’m talking about ALL religions. Maybe I’m just nitpicking on wording. Certainly, I’m not criticizing anyone who “does good works for God.” However, we must be careful about why we do the works. I struggled for a good bit over the past couple years (and still do from time to time) to make someone believe in Christ. In verse 28, the people clearly have made God’s works synonymous with the works of man. Similarly, there seems to be an unspoken characterization as we classify people who are doing “God’s work.” On a related note, we classify them as “good people” because they do “God’s work.” What does this do? It shifts the glory from God to the man performing the work!
What exactly IS the work of God, anyway? Is not that work of God work that God performs? He doesn’t contract out to us. Some may say He works through us. Ok, I can go with that, but yet it is still God who is working, not us. So then who are we to take credit for, better yet, expect man to do the work of God. Does this not then put a Godly expectation on man instead of God Himself? We inadvertently make ourselves God.
The questioners then continue in their analysis of Jesus, looking to Him as a prophet, or possibly The Prophet that was prophesied by Isaiah. They ask for signs, not of God, but of the man. They want Him to prove who He is by signs of His own power. He redirects them by exposing the error in their expectations. It is not about expecting man to do Godly things, but rather recognize the Godly things that God has done and continues to do! They bring up the example of manna in the wilderness, yet Jesus points out that manna out of heaven was not something Moses did as an example of power, but rather something God did for His people because He loves them. How often do we miss this?
If you pray to God for something: a provision, a sign, etc. and then you get it from an actual person, who do you praise? Do you look at that person as if they answered your prayers? It is an easy habit to slide into since God Himself doesn’t appear and hand us the cash we need to pay our next bill or sit with us when we are depressed and lonely.
Who do you rely on? Do we rely on ourselves to make others believe in Christ? Do we look to others to perform miracles and heal us or help us? What signs of man are you looking for today? Maybe you’re looking for hope in man that not all men are evil as hope that God exists. Men are evil. We are born with it. The more we rely on men for our faith, for signs, for miracles, the more and more disappointed we will be, since man is not God.